10 Sep 2008

Many school buildings in Fiji are unfit to withstand natural disasters

4:29 pm on 10 September 2008

A number of school buildings in Fiji pose a threat of collapse in natural disasters.

The findings of an evaluation of some schools have been presented during the School Safety and Disaster Risk Reduction Workshop over the past two days.

The director of the School Retrofit Assessment Team, Joeli Cacoaki says the team has found poor carpentry and materials mean many structures don't meet the building code to withstand earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones and flooding.

"One of the main factors is the cost. And also one of the other factors is the availability of the materials. It's also the qualification of the carpenters. Most of the carpenters are not qualified to build structures according to the code and according to the standard."

Joeli Cacoaki says the Reftrofit team is working on strengthening the current school structures with extra support beams, and will be seeking input from engineers, the Health Ministry and local authorities.